As a founding participant of the Forest Climate Working Group (FCWG), NASF helps develop recommendations for ensuring forests have a strong role in climate legislation. The Forest-Climate Working Group is a broad and diverse coalition of forest stakeholders formed to develop consensus recommendations for U.S. forest components of federal climate policy. Our partners in the Forest Climate Working Group—landowner, industry, conservation, wildlife, carbon finance, and forestry organizations—have been working together to provide input on climate policy since 2007.
National policy related to climate change can improve the contribution of the forest sector in reducing greenhouse gas levels and can help provide resources to help forests adapt to changing conditions. State forestry agencies have a significant stake in the outcomes of these decisions as they directly manage and protect millions of acres of state forests and assist private landowners in the management of nearly two-thirds of the forestland in the United States.
State, national and international climate change policies seek to account for and reward CO2 emission reductions and sequestration from the forest sector to varying degrees. As a consequence, decisions on how programs to address atmospheric greenhouse gas levels are structured will have major implications for forest conservation, management and use. State forestry agencies are in a unique position, not only to help guide the development of these programs, but also to assist in program delivery at the local level.
Currently, forests in the United States reduce annual U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 13 percent, and the potential of our forests for additional climate change mitigation is even greater. Funds to support state climate mitigation and adaptation efforts should recognize the many important roles state forest agencies play in encouraging carbon friendly forest management.